Reply To: Ellen Ann Hartley and Ann Bailey
I just wanted to return to this topic with some further info. To summarise the previous post, I think these are the key facts:
- There are no newspaper reports which mention the finding and identifying of the body of Ann Bailey. In fact, the issuing of a description of the girl suggests that her body remained unfound (or found but not identified).
- Prior to the inquest that was held to formally identify the bodies that had been recovered, Aner Bailey believed that his daughter Ann had already been buried at the Holmfirth Wesleyan Chapel.
- Following the inquest, Aner went to the Golden Fleece Inn near Berry Brow and “claimed” a body that had already been formally identified as Ellen Ann Hartley by her surviving sister Hannah. From the descriptions of the two girls (Ann Bailey & Ellen Ann Hartley) we know that they did not resemble each other and also that the Coroner praised Hannah Hartley for her calm testimony, which had included references to the body’s distinctive “cow lick” hair that was a trait in the female Hartleys.
- The burial register for St. John’s Upperthong contains entries for “girl unknown” and also “Ann Bailey”, both buried on 9 February.
- Although no burial register survives for Lane Independent Chapel, three separate newspaper reports state that Aner buried his wife (Hannah) and “one child” (presumably Martha) there on 9 February.
Curiously, there are no newspaper references to the burial of Ann Bailey (i.e. the body “claimed” by Aner) at St. John’s Upperthong.
I thought it might also be useful to show where I believe the bodies of Ann Bailey and Ellen Ann Hartley where washed from, with the caveat that the location of the Bailey and Hartley residences are “best guesses”. The red line shows the route Ann’s body may have taken in order to end up in Victoria Street (we know that debris piling up at Victoria Bridge caused the flood to spread outwards, which would explain why her body was deposited there) and the purple line is the route Ellen Ann’s body initially took as it was swept down the Holme Valley towards Armitage Bridge. Hopefully this shows that it’s highly unlikely that Ellen Ann’s body could have been the one found in Victoria Street, which was upriver from her house.
Having gone back to look at the burial records again, I’ve noticed a few things…
Firstly, the entry for “Ann Bailey”s burial at St. John’s was added to the footer of the relevant page. The handwriting doesn’t match any of the adjacent entries, so was clearly added at a later date. If Ann’s burial did indeed take place on 9 February, why wasn’t it entered into the register at the time but added at a later date? The burial plot appears to be “L.18” or “L.28”. To my eyes, the next subsequent entry in the same handwriting as the footer entry appears in December 1853.
Secondly, here is Aner’s burial in 1895. Rather than be buried with his wife and daughter (Martha) at Lane Independent, he was buried at St. John’s Upperthong. It seems that Lane Independent was still accepting burials at the time, so why was he buried at St. John’s? The burial plot is “L.18” which means he may have been buried in the same plot as Ann (remember this is the body he claimed as being Ann, which was more likely to be that of Ellen Ann Hartley).
At least two newspaper reports published after the initial inquest have lists of the “still missing” which include Ann Bailey. One possible explanation why is that since no body was formally identified as being Ann Bailey at the inquest, she remained on the “still missing” list.
Several newspaper reports state that Ellen Ann Hartley was buried along with her parents and four siblings at Christ Church, New Mill, on the same day. However, there is no entry for her in the burial register of that church. Perhaps the newspaper reports were based on the fact that, following the inquest, it had been expected that she was to be buried there… that was until “the same child was claimed by a man named Bailey as his daughter, and he obtained possession of the corpse, and interred it”.
So, we still have some issues to resolve:
- Why were there no newspaper references to Ann Bailey (or rather the body Aner claimed as being Ann) being buried at St. John’s? If we assume Aner knew that the body wasn’t actually Ann, then perhaps he did not tell others about the burial.
- However, if Aner knew the body wasn’t actually Ann, why did he choose to be buried at St. John’s, perhaps even in the same plot?
- Why was the St. John’s burial registry entry for “Ann Bailey” added at a later date?